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Evansville, Indiana
January 31, 1997     The Message
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January 31, 1997

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,1997 ]: / i //"/ i. The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana IX of the Diocese % us at St. John's Home for the Aged in Evansville. The Sons of Divine Provi- dence at Providence Home in Jasper serve our diocese in a unique way. The Daughters of Charity oPerate St. Mary's Medical Center and Warrick County Hospital while the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary operate Memorial Hospital in Jasper. The presence of dedicated religious in our diocese is a most powerful one for which we must be grateful. As well, we specifically acknowledge, with great gratitude, the pastoral leaders of our 73 parishes who witness to holiness of life. /!  i ' th Steekler was ordained to the priesthood on July 13, 1996, Huntingburg, by Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. inner with the Bishop." Invite young people to to a dinner where give witness to the and priesthood. OUr Vocations team hosts ng men and women their voca- held at St. Joseph in and GIVE pro- in lieu of ler youth. Currently we have nine students studying for the priesthood for the dio- cese. There are four theologians and five college students affiliated with our dio- cese. It is most appropriate for us to acknowledge the presence of members of numerous religious communities of men and women serving in our diocese. The full list can be found in the Dioce- san Yearbook, however, I wish to acknowledge the fact that we host the Benedictine Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand; the Mother- house of the Order of Saint Clare in Evansville; and the Mater Dei Provin- cialate of the Daughters of Charity. The Little Sisters of the Poor are present to Ministry of religious formation of youth This address would not be complete without acknowledging the massive efforts throughout our diocese to assist parents, the primary teachers of their children, in the religious formation of children and young people. Earlier in this report, I mentioned the numbers of those participating in parish religious education and Catholic school programs. It is good to remind ourselves that we, the Church of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville, embrace 73 distinct parish communities. Each one, and I must add, with great seriousness and effort, pro- vides parents with assistance in the reli- gious formation of their children and young people. Parish leaders and vol- unteer catechists make it possible. We have within our dio- cese 21 individual parish schools and five inter- parochial schools, The inter- parochial schools include Mater Dei and Memorial Catholic high schools in Evansville, West-Side Con- solidated Catholic School in Evansville, Vincennes Catholic Community Schools of Flaget and Rivet, and Washington Catholic Com- munity Schools in Washing- ton. We also have within our diocese, Marian Heights Academy, operated by the Benedictine Sisters at Fer- dinand. These Catholic schools in our diocese repre- sent an enormous demon- stration of the will of our people to assist parents in their role as primary teach- ers of their children. Finally, let us all give thanks to God for the untold generosity of all who engage in the baptismal call to spread the Gospel. FATHER KORESSEL FATHER SAUER ,r Briana Crad- Immac- describes her PUzzle: some though they won't. She was a group of Dinner eh was held  f f  i Youth Day XXXIV will be Feb. 9 in Loogootee Youth Day XXXIV will be held Sunday, Feb. 9, at St. John Church, Leo, gootee. The theme for the day is "I'll Stand By You." The Youth Group at Loogootee will host Youth Day; Shirley Jeffers is the Youth Minister at St. John's. Teens from across the Diocese of Evansville are invited to this day of "games, food, fun, speakers and dancing," said Michael Eppler, diocesan direc- tor of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. "We are trying something new this time. The youth of the diocese asked for speakers who were closer in age to being teenagers. There will be older youth and young adult speakers for Youth Day. "Robbie Hensen, a freshman at St. Louis University, will be the 'anchor speaker." During the day, young adults -- ages 19 to 30  will be invited to a Young Adult Caucus, which will be held during the youth speakers presentations. The Maria Goretti Youth Recognition awards will also be presented. Saint Maria Goretti is an Italian saint, recognized for her purity and purpose to God. These awards are open to students who are seniors in high school. The cost for Youth Day is $8.50 before Feb. I, and $I0 at the door. To make reservations, call your parish youth minister or Marcella at the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at (812) 424-5536 or (800) 63%1731. Support of personnel at the parish and diocesan levels In the Catholic Diocese of Evansville we do not have a uniform compensation program for those who staff our parish and diocesan efforts. Much has been accomplished in this area, but much more remains for us to do. Briefl>, I will summarize recent developments for both clergy and lay staff members; for this report, "lay" includes religious who are not priests. Clergy Benefits In 1988, Bishop Shea initiated a three-year effort to provide perpetual funding for a pension program for retired priests. Prior to the implemen- tation of this new program, funds for clergy retirement were assessed from parishes and through the annual dioce- san appeal. The goal was to establish a fund large enough to care for retirement needs, according to actuarial tables: It was determined that an initial trust of three million dollars would suffice. In March 1989, responsibility for this effort shifted from one bishop to anoth- er. By extending the appeal to a fourth year, we came close to achieving the full goal. Nonetheless, the funding for pen- sions for our retired priests changed from parish and diocesan support to the priests' Retirement Trust. To date, that fund remains actuarially sound. It does not, however, allow for periodic increas- es in keeping with inflation. Additional memorial gifts to this fund are encouraged. Over the past 18 months a committee comprised of priests and laity under the co-leadership of Fathers James Koressel and James  Sauer did an extensive study of compensation for clergy from its earliest history in the church to the practices prior to the beginning of this fiscal year. The committee report indicated that it was wisest that priests be compensated on a modified stipend system rather than on a professiom al salary system. Policy language was pro- posed. Following a thorough report of the Committee's find- ings and recommendations, consultation with the Diocesan Priests' Council, the Diocesan Finance Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council was undertaken. The results were positive. The recommended policy has been ratified by me, Recommendations for imple- mentation have been accept- ed. Beginning September 1, 1996, the implementation of the new policy for com- pensation for priests was initiated with full implementation to be in fiscal year - 1998-1999. The system provides for both cash and non-cash benefits and is pro. vided for priests in parishes or in other positions assigned by the bishop. A comparable policy with subsequent consultation for Pastoral Life Coordi- nators has been established. Its imple-:: mentation is following the pattern for priests' compensation with some modi- fications, e.g. in the way the medical and retirement benefits are funded for our lay staff members. Lay Benefits In the absence of diocesan wide stan. dards for salary, it is my expectation that parishes and institutions abide by Church teaching for social justice. Parish councils and interparochial school boards have the greatest respon. sibility in this area. There has been a long,standing I reticent pm rof !a'j i/1